Currently marijuana is an illegal drug in most parts of the world. This has made the people who use the drug to deal directly with drug dealers so as to acquire the drug. An individual can be arrested and convicted in jail for a long time for being in possession of the drug. As a result many people have felt that a time has come for marijuana to be legalized.
These people argue that if alcohol and tobacco are legal yet they impose negative effects on the health and behavior of an individual then why shouldn’t marijuana follow the same route and be legalized (Johnston et al 198).
Legalization of marijuana will reduce the amount of people who serve jail time. Policies and regulations will also be formulated by the government which will ensure that the marijuana that is consumed by the people is safe for human consumption. The possible outcome of this effort will be the safe consumption of the drug, easy monitoring, and creation of awareness to the public on the dangers of excessive use of the drug and lastly the government can earn revenue through taxation of the drug.
The policies which are currently in place to curb the use of the drug by the public are not very effective. People have found loopholes to evade these laws. In other circumstances, law enforcement has failed because of corruption in the system allowing the people who break the law get away with it. Despite all these efforts therefore marijuana and other drugs in general still find their way into the streets where they are consumed by individuals of all ages including under aged children.
In recent years there has been a lot of debate in the issue of legalization of marijuana (Daryal 1). Marijuana is the most widely used drug in the world especially in Africa, Europe and North America. In Australia for example a drug survey was conducted in 1999 and it was found out that 32% of the population has at least tried the drug in their lifetime (Clements and Daryal 1999).
The fight for legalization of marijuana has got mixed reactions with one group supporting the idea and another group criticizing it (Penington 1996). Those who are against the legalization of marijuana argue that the efforts which have been put forward to fight drug abuse will all be in vain and the society would have given in very easily to the pressure from those using the drugs. Legalizing marijuana will make the community be vulnerable to more risks and social ills adding more problems to the society.
On the other hand the people who are for the legalization of marijuana argue that the government is spending a lot of money fighting against drugs which would have otherwise been used on other income generating activities in the economy (Saffer and Chalopuka 1995).
They believe that marijuana is a harmless drug, not any different from cigarettes or alcohol and through its legalization the community to avoid a lot of problems. This is because through legalization of marijuana there will be an easy access of the drug hence people will not get into contact with drug dealers who may even introduce them to harder drugs (Daryal 2).
There is a small correlation between the use of marijuana and crime. In the United States and other western countries for example, around 60% of people who are arrested on crime related cases test positive for marijuana use from tests conducted from their urine samples (Pacula and Kilmer 2003).
However on further testing they are also found to have consumed other hard drugs and alcohol which are believed to trigger the violent and criminal behavior and not marijuana. Secondly, most of the test results conducted show that the consumption of marijuana occurred sometime back while the test of alcohol and other drugs show immediate use.
Despite being a common drug in the population, marijuana normally reduces the aggressiveness of an individual hence its chances of promoting crime are minimal. Studies have however shown that continuous use of the substance may impair the nervous system triggering violent behaviour (Penington 1996).
More importantly legalizing marijuana will reduce the number of people being arrested in the possession of small amounts of drugs. Most of the people found in jails and correctional facilities are there because of cases which are related to marijuana. Through its legalization therefore the number of people in jail will reduce thus reducing the government expenditure in the running of correctional facilities.
The government will also ensure that the marijuana which people consume is suitable for human health, regulate its consumption and ensure that the people who use the drug are of age. All this can be achieved by the government coming up with strict rules and regulations which have to be adhered to.
Legalizing marijuana will be an expensive exercise to conduct. A lot of money has been spent and will continue to be spent in organizing rallies and campaigns which aim at bringing people together to fight for the legalization of marijuana (Saffer and Chalopuka 1995). The activists who are for the idea of marijuana legalization together with other groups that fight for human rights should come up with proposed policies and laws that should be implemented if marijuana becomes legal.
These proposed drafts should be sent to all politicians, congressmen, legislators and other relevant individuals who are actively involved in the formation and amendment of the law. The money to conduct all these activities can be raised from donations of people who support the idea such as drug dealers, non-governmental organizations and well wishers. The government too will also incur minimal expenses during the legislation process (Saffer and Chalopuka 1995).
Over the years several studies have been conducted to find out the relationship and effects of marijuana legalization and crime. In these studies the main objectives have been:
To investigate the impacts of legalization of marijuana on crime rates.
To determine the effects of legalization of marijuana in the society.
To find out if the rate of marijuana consumption will increase or decrease through its legalization.
To find out the attitude and perception of people on the idea of marijuana legalization.
These studies have come up with a lot of information about this subject. Despite this there are a few limitations which have reduced the accuracy and efficiency of the data collected. They include:
The time span for carrying the study is short and therefore the study may not capture the topic in detail.
There could be little relevant secondary data to supplement the primary data.
While conducting any research it is important to have a research hypothesis. A research hyothesis is a core statement of the study which is used to define the main aim of the experiment (Shuttleworth 2008). The research hypothesis will formulated by using the process of inductive reasoning where normal observations are use to formulate the hypothesis. In most cases a research question is used to formulate the hypothesis of the study.
In research we have two forms of hypothesis: null hypothesis and alternate hypothesis. Null hypothesis is a statement of no difference in that the independent variable has got no effect to the dependent variable while alternate hypothesis is a statement of difference in that the independent variable has got an effect the dependant variable (QuickMBA 2010). The following statements are examples of null and alternate hypothesis.
Null hypothesis(HO): legalizing marijuana will reduce the rates of crime and have positive impacts on the society.
Altrnate hypothesis(H1): legalizing marijuana will not reduce the rates of crime and will have negative impacts on the society.
To collect the relevant information needed for this research, it will be necessary to collect both qualitative and quantitative data. Qualitative data is data which has been collected from any other source apart from the area of study. This data is also known as secondary data and mainly forms the literature review of the study. Secondary data will be attained by reviewing works which have been done in the field of trying to legalize marijuana and other illegal drugs.
This data will be obtained from books, magazines, peer reviewd journals, online articles and other relevant sources. Through literature review, the methods which have been used in the previous studies can also be borrowed and applied in the current study. Also the reccommendations of the previous studies will be considered in the current work. Information from literature review is therefore used as a guiding tool in conducting the present study (Marshall 2008).
Quantitative data is also called primary and it forms the data which has been collected on the area of study. It is used to suppliment the data which has been collected fro the field. In the case of this study, questionnaires will be used to collect this vital information. This will help us to obtain first hand information which will help to explore the research objectives and gain statistical data which is necessary for data analysis.
The questionnaires will be structured in such a way so as to minimize the occurrence of errors and which may make the data collected from the field to become unreliable. Careful measures will be taken to avoid this. Prior to the conduction of the interviews the validity of the questionnaires will have been tested and approved for use.
For accurate analysis of the statistical data a computer programme called SPSS 16.0 will be used for descriptive data analysis. The data will be explored using descriptive statistics and histogram plots will be used to determine the shape of the distribution for each sample variable. After analyzing all research findings the final conclusions and recommendations will be written. All the parts of work will be put together and formatted in order to present the final report for the project (Model 1993).
In conclusion, it is evident that there is a strong debate about the legalization of marijuana. If the drug will be legalized then the government will reduce overcrowding in jails, cut down on petty crimes, reduce the amount of money used for the fight against drugs and narcotics and increase their revenue through taxation of the drug. This will have a positive impact both to the community and the government.
Clements, King and Daryal, Mert. The Economics of Marijuana Consumption. Paper presented at the 28th Conference of Economists in La Trobe University, 1999.
Daryal, Mert. Prices, Legalisation and Marijuana Consumption. Unpublished BEc Honours thesis, The University of Western Australia, 1999.
Johnston, Lucas., Peter, O’Malley and Joseph, Bachman. Marijuana Decriminalisation: The Impact on Youth. Michigan: Institute for Social Research, 1981.
Marshall, Peter. Null Hypothesis. Experimental resources. 2008.Retrieved on 23 Feb. 2011 from http://www.experiment-resources.com/null-hypothesis.html.
Model, Kenny. The Effect of Marijuana Decriminalisation on Hospital Emergency Drug Episodes. Journal of the American Statistical Association 88, 737-47, 1993.
Pacula, Rosalie and Kilmer, Beau. Marijuana and crime: Is there a connection beyond prohibition? Retrieved on 24 Feb. 2011 from http://www.nber.org/papers/w10046
Penington Report. Drugs and Our Community: Report of the Premier’s Advisory Council. Melbourne: Victorian Government, 1996.
Saffer, Harris and Chaloupka, Francis. The Demand for Illicit Drugs. Working Paper No. 5238, National Bureau of Economic Research, 1995.
Shuttleworth, Martyn. Research hypothesis. Experiment Resources. 2008. Retrieved on 23 Feb. 2011 From http://www.experiment-resources.com/research-hypothesis.html.
Quick MBA. Marketing research. 2010.Retrieved on 23 Feb. 2010 From http://www.quickmba.com/marketing/research/.